Learning from your competitors
In our last post, we talked to you about not being distracted by your competitors.
There are plenty of exciting success stories from companies who have done just that…
Apple and Dyson are just two examples of many – they have shown there was a different way, and introduced us to innovative products, that challenged our thinking.
It doesn’t pay to become complacent
The supermarket wars demonstrates this quite well – Asda and Tesco, in particular, have spent too much air time taking pot shots at each other. Both desperately in a fight as to who can be the cheapest.
But they didn’t look behind them, and now we see the German discount supermarkets, Lidl and Aldi, coming up on the rails. Sure, they have some way to go to take Tesco’s market share, but be sure Tesco are watching them now!
So, how should you think about your competitors?
Unless, you are in a very niche market, you are likely to have many competitors. It would be impossible to keep track of them all, and frankly, nor should you.
Instead, we suggest looking at other companies who work in the same space as you. By that, we mean the same geographical location, a very similar customer base, a comparable offering. We recommend you look at no more than five or six. We don’t want you paralysed by the constant analysis of what is going on, rather than getting on with making your own business successful.
Having identified a list of viable competitors take a look at:
- Their offering – do they offer everything you do? What else do they offer?
- Their website – what does it look like, how does the navigation work, is the journey good?
- Their marketing messages – what do they say, how do they say it, what don’t they say?
- Their pricing – this may not be easy, as not many companies advertise their rates, but you may get to hear on the grapevine, or customers who have experienced your competitors may be willing to share this information
- Their service and reputation – again, this is something customers, or potential customers, may be willing to share
We don’t want you to become obsessed with this, but it is interesting. This research can give you some very helpful clues for your own business. There is no harm in learning or getting ideas from others. Maybe there is a better way for you to be marketing your business, maybe your messages need to be tweaked, or maybe it is time for you to stop hiding and get out there and show what you have.
So take a look at your competitors, be clear about where your points of difference are, and then drive forward. Good luck!